Of the highest-grossing films of 2014, Christopher Nolan's ambitious space odyssey Interstellar is the only film to crack the top 10 globally -- earning $650 million -- that isn't a sequel, spinoff, reboot or adaptation of a toy, comic book or young adult novel.
On the heels of the films' s unique success, the director gave The Hollywood Reporter a lengthy interview that covers his entire career: from his first indie film The Following to last year's big budget Interstellar. Nolan also reflects on his Batman trilogy -- made at a time when there weren't "reboots."
While Nolan calls Tim Burton's '89 Batman film a "very idiosyncratic, gothic kind of masterpiece" in the interview, he cites Richard Donner's first Superman film as the reason for wanting to make Batman Begins.
"They never did the sort of 1978 Batman, where you see the origin story, where the world is pretty much the world we live in but there’s this extraordinary figure there, which is what worked so well in Dick Donner’s Superman film," said Nolan. "And so I was able to get in the studio and say, 'Well, that’s what I would do with it.' I don’t even know who was first banging around the term "reboot" or whatever, but it was after Batman Begins, so we didn’t have any kind of reference for that idea of kind of resetting a franchise. It was more a thing of, 'Nobody’s ever made this origin story in this way and treated it as a piece of action filmmaking, a sort of contemporary action blockbuster.'"
In today's blockbuster filmmaking world of shared universes and splitting trilogies into four films, Nolan also talks about his approach to "Batman Begins" and how the trilogy took shape over time and the advantage of having years in between each film. He admits when he first signed up for the film he wasn't even thinking in terms of a trilogy.
"Privately, ourselves, we started to put together a vague idea of where a second and third film were going, and then I immediately shot them down. I was like, “You know what? You’ve got to put everything into the one movie and just try and make a great movie because you may not get this chance again.” And then, when it succeeded, we were able to think about, "Okay, what would we do in a sequel?'"
On the franchise-driven Hollywood films of late, Nolan said, "the industry goes through cycles of leaning towards particular types of entertainment and, at times, it’s been more about original ideas and, at other times, it’s more about franchise properties. I’ve worked in both and had a great time working in both, so I wouldn’t criticize one or the other," adding later: "And, you know, that will change over time and will run its course, but right now, that’s what’s sort of driving where the biggest money is spent. But I have found the studios to always be receptive to innovation and novelty."
Read the whole Nolan interview here.